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Filing for Divorce When One Spouse is Abroad

If you would like to file for divorce from your spouse, but that person is currently living in a different country, the process might be a little more difficult than if you both lived in the United States.

If it is the filing spouse who lives overseas, you may need to abide by at least some of the local laws of the country in which you live. You should get in touch with your closest U.S. Embassy and find a list of qualified attorneys who can assist you in the process.

The United States government will recognize a divorce decree issued in a foreign state in some circumstances. The country must have satisfied several procedural requirements, such as giving the proper legal notice to your spouse. You might need to go through your state’s office of the Attorney General to determine if your foreign divorce decree will be considered valid.

If you are living in the United States and your spouse is abroad, you may work with a local legal professional to guide you through the process. You will need to file the petition for divorce in your local court, just as you would in a normal divorce case, making sure you meet all of your residency requirements and complete all of the correct paperwork.

If your spouse does not agree to waive the personal service of divorce papers, you might have to follow the laws of the country in which that person currently resides. Your local court’s jurisdiction to give orders to your spouse depends on the extent to which your spouse is in contact with the state.

International divorces can be complex, so if you’re dealing with this unique situation, speak with an experienced Minneapolis family law attorney at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. right away.

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Client testimonials
  • "Tori had a thorough understanding of my situation and made excellent recommendations to resolve my concerns. She was persistent on communication and handled everything in a very timely manner. I would definitely hire her again in the future if needed." - M.K.

  • "With Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A., it is like having a family physician. They are all knowledgeable, thorough, comforting, and the only call I need to make for all my legal needs for many years to come. No matter what the matter, I totally trust their advice and commitment to me and my family." - J.N.

  • "Mary from APH Law helped me thru a difficult divorce. She and the entire staff was there for me every step of the way helping me on what to do next. They listened to what I wanted and helped me achieve what matter the most to me in the divorce settlement." - Dana C.

  • "I chose APH after my initial consultation with Mary. I felt my best interest would be represented. The entire process went excellent, the attorneys and staff communicated effectively and efficiently with me throughout the process as they needed to. Being new to the legal process and verbiage, they walked me and talked me through the next steps and the jargon, I felt completely comfortable and represented. I hope I never have to use legal services again but if I do I will call Mary at APH Law and know that I will be taken care of." - Jeff M.

  • "Divorce is a time of emotion and stress. Mary Pfeifer , My lawyer was professional and compassionate. She was very informative through the process. Her insight helped me in my decisions. She worked hard to obtain a settlement which was fair to both parties. Though, I hope I won't need her help again. It is reassuring to know a good person that is willing to help." - Rod S.

  • "I first came to Ms. Jacquelyn Lutz of Appelhof, Pfeifer and Hart in October of 2016. It was definitely the worst time in my life and she compassionately spoke with me about my options. Ms. Lutz thoroughly explained the laws, statutes, process and what to expect going forward. What was supposed to be one case, turned into three intricate cases that took a huge toll on me and my family. Ms. Lutz represented me in court on all three cases with a vast knowledge of the laws and how to proceed accordingly. During all three cases she kept me informed, calm, gave me resources to utilize, and (most important) gave me a realistic view of what may come next. Ms. Lutz knew each case required a great deal of knowledge and creative thinking on how to legally proceed forward with each case. My family and friends are forever grateful for the amazing representation by Ms. Lutz. I highly recommend Ms. Lutz for anyone needing or considering superb representation for any kind of family law. " - M.H.

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